Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Wonderbag: The Slowcooker That Doesn't Require Gas or Electricity

As someone who is very interested in sustainable solutions to food security, economic stability, and environmental issues, I was blown away by this innovative, yet simple invention by Sarah Collins. It's called the Wonderbag (see how it works here). It's a slowcooker that doesn't require gas or electricity, and cooks food for up to 12 hours after it has been brought to a boil. It also acts as a portable cooler by protecting food and beverages from the heat. But WAIT! We haven't even discussed the best part. The Wonderbag is designed to empower women and communities in Africa (and now all over the world) by allowing women to spend less time 1) finding and gathering firewood for open fires and 2) cooking multiple daily meals over open fires. As a result, girls and women can spend more time at school, work, and attending to other daily tasks and life events when they don't have to carve out time for gathering firewood and cooking their meals. Additionally, by mitigating the frequency and burning time frame of open fires, the Wonderbag significantly reduces environmental and health issues, such as air pollution and smoke inhalation. 

Now, let us all collectively cheer, or have a moment of respectful silence for the mastermind behind the Wonderbag. Sarah Collins, a South Africa-based social entrepreneur, attributes her creative, inventive nature to growing up in apartheid South Africa in an entrepreneurial, politically-minded family who encouraged social solutions to inequality and other issues. 

Before inventing the Wonderbag, Collins ran her own community-based ecotourism company in Botswana, where she firsthand saw the effects of minimal access to electricity and health & environmental impacts from open fires. Wanting to provide a solution to this, she remembered how her grandmother used to wrap her pots and pans in cushions after she took them off the stove, also known as heat-retention cooking. She expanded on this idea and eventually came up with the Wonderbag, which is made of polycotton and recycled foam. To date, more than 1 MILLION (!) Wonderbags have been sold in countries all across the world. Meet Sarah and hear her talk more about the Wonderbag here! 

Sarah's creative process was greatly influenced by her family members and family philosophy, as well as her extensive knowledge and experience about social development, particularly in various environments in Africa. Her problem-solving abilities remind me a lot of analogical thought transfer (Weisburg) and opportunistic assimilation (Smith & Ward). 

Have more questions about the Wonderbag? Check out these FAQ's!

Want to buy a Wonderbag? For every Wonderbag purchased, one is donated to families in need in Africa. Happy shopping!

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing invention! I think it is truly amazing that such a simple insulating device can affect the lives of women in such a drastic manner. I think it is amazing that the Wonderbag is able to have an influence on so many important and socially driven topics. The name Wonderbag comes as no surprise as it helps women globally, the perishing earth, and to be honest, everybody!


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